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Robert Scheer: Becoming What We Despise

Posted on Dec 5, 2006
Jose Padilla
New York Times

This still photo from a video obtained by The New York Times shows Jose Padilla’s forced isolation and sensory deprivation, including the use of blinders and sound dampeners as he is moved from his cell.

By Robert Scheer

Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, has been tortured by his own government for the better part of three-and-one-half years, suffering years of systematic sensory deprivation documented in his attorneys’ filings and supported by photos of the prisoner published this week by the New York Times.

In that time, Padilla, who has been judged by professionals as mentally ill as a consequence of his brutal treatment, has been denied his Constitutional right to a fair and speedy trial and was permitted no legal representation for 21 months. The Bush administration’s excuse for this betrayal of our legal system was that Padilla was a dangerous al Qaeda agent, a big fish caught in the administration’s successful pursuit of its much ballyhooed war on terror. In the words of then-U.S. Attorney Gen. John Ashcroft, Padilla was “a known terrorist who was exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or ‘dirty bomb,’ in the United States.” Those lurid claims were abandoned when the government, faced with a belated U.S. Supreme Court censure, finally charged Padilla with vague and lesser crimes carrying a maximum 15-year sentence.

Were this some isolated case of officially condoned sadism, say in a rural county jail, it could be minimized as an aberration. Instead, it is an all-too-accurate reflection of a presidential policy of dehumanizing anyone even suspected of being an enemy. The Times photos, taken from a government video, give evidence of a heavily manacled prisoner with masked eyes and muffled ears being walked down a corridor within a Navy brig, lending physical evidence to Padilla’s lawyer’s claims of a pattern of disorienting isolation. “There is nothing comparable in terms of severity of confinement, in terms of how Padilla was held, especially considering that this was pretrial confinement,” Philip D. Cave, a former Navy judge advocate general, told the Times.

Obviously, a prisoner who has been deliberately disorientated for so long is no longer in a position to exercise his right to confront his accusers. An examining psychiatrist wrote that “as the result of his experience during his detention and interrogation, Mr. Padilla does not appreciate the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him, is unable to render assistance to counsel, and has impairments in reasoning as the result of a mental illness ... complicated by the neuropsychiatric effects of prolonged isolation.”

The excuse for this heinous treatment of a U.S. citizen is the same as that given for an entire orgy of despicable treatment of prisoners held in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guantanamo and a gulag archipelago of secret military facilities around the world: Our enemies, all linked through sophistry to the 9/11 terror attacks, are so vile and dangerous that the limitations on government power enshrined in our guiding documents and political culture no longer apply. Once the Twin Towers were knocked down, supposedly, we could no longer afford to be “nice guys”—as if the rule of law is an indulgence of only the most secure nations.

By that standard, any tyrant can justify the cruelest of actions by citing enemies, real or imagined, be it King George III blockading Boston Harbor to teach the rebellious colonists a lesson or Saddam Hussein killing Kurdish villagers after an assassination attempt on his life. The very uniqueness of our national experiment was the checks and balances put upon the government to prevent such convenient rationalizations for abuse of the individual. The Founding Fathers won a war, but their true contribution to human history was to tackle head-on the reality that humans and their institutions can so easily become that which they despise.

Even when an American is suspected of a “capital or infamous crime,” as was Padilla, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically says he still cannot “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” That is why the Supreme Court finally forced the Bush administration to give Padilla his day in court.

In the end, the administration has retreated from its hoary claims; Padilla’s trial, set to begin on Jan. 22, does not include any reference to dirty bombs, al Qaeda, or any specific plans to attack America. Instead, he faces lesser charges claiming he was the recruit of a “North American support cell,” whose interest was in jihad in Bosnia and Chechnya. As if it had no bearing on the disoriented state of mind of the defendant, the Bush administration’s lawyers have argued in motions that his treatment as a prisoner should not be presented before the jury.

The more important question now, however, is when will those who, like Ashcroft, used this case to shamelessly exploit our fears for political purposes face their own day of accountability in a court of law?

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By Dan Ross, September 8, 2007 at 7:00 am Link to this comment
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I wrote a book in July 2000, telling that 911 would soon come, saying it would happen in the USA, and be between Islam, and Christianity.  I also said that Islam, and Christianity during 911 would be the Two Witnesses found in Revelation 11:4 as it is a parable, where fire comes out of their mouth, the Twin towers.  They have power to shut up the skies so it may not rain, which coincided with the worst draught in US history.  They have power to turn the sea to blood, which coincided with the tens of thousands of donated blood, never used, that was eventually dumped down the drain, leading to the NY City Harbor. They have power to strike with plague when they desire, which coincided with the anthrax, which only happened during that time, which is an ancient plague. From the date of my letter to Congressman Porter Goss, which got me arrested, a Gandhi like act of civil disobedience,there past 390 days just like found when Ezekiel carried the sins of Israel. We recall that Congress was not hit by the terrorist guided plane that instead fell into a field. Far more could be told, but it is obvious that I am the person who grants the twowitnesses authority, by the Little Book I wrote.  The person who was crucified, since it is a parable, is me, for I was arrested by the US Government, detained for about five months, and drugged, until I said I was insane.  Then they released me, but my spiritual sight had been destroyed, and a degree of my intelligence destroyed by the drugs, so that symbolically I had been crucified. 

The point is, that other than my wife, and children, who were helpless, no one cared.  I could have died, unless I feigned insanity.  The final idea I wish to make here is that God does not allow “free choice” like we are all lead to believe, instead we are like puppets.  We have very limited “Free choice.”  If we had complete free choice, then prophecy would fail, all of which proves that even though there is much evil in the world, for after all people should help me when so much proof is shown, that we must conclude that God allows this to happen.  God allows the Devil, who is actually Ares, found in the Greek myths, to use us for his benefit.  We are like cattle, and since humans can do anything they want to cattle, so can Ares move us around, but he must do it within the confines allowed by God. God has his “fences,” invisible to most of humanity, and Ares must move us around within those areas.  http://home.earthlink.net/~donutnous

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By Wagon Repairman, December 21, 2006 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I guess everyone is finished posting here, just dropped back by to review the results of my previous input.  Perhaps I was a bit harsh.

For the nay-sayers who responded to my comments I’d just like to let you know that I have been in AF, GTMO, & Iraq.  I neither participated in, nor allowed mistreatment of any detainee in my charge.  I have looked “them” in the eye from across a table and one of “them” tried to stab me with a pencil. I found many GTMO detainees to be scared, confused, young men swept up in something that seemed exciting when it began.  The primary interrogation tool employed was #2 value meals from McDonalds (yep, they have one in GTMO). The facilities were actually quite nice compared to where the MP’s lived initially. 

For the record, building positive raport is the single most successful approach to gaining intel (when time allows).

I think it was Jeanne who asked that I provide some substance for my remarks and while most of those were made in frustration I will go ahead and point out the success of violence in the French and Indian War, American Revolution, Texas Independence, U.S. Civil War. WWI, WWII.  I would also like to point out the error of half-hearted and undirected violence that does not destroy an enemy’s will or ability to mount further resistance… Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq I, Iraq II.  I am currently unaware of any nation state brokering a lasting peace with any aggressor nation without any preparedness and/or willingness on the part of themselves or allies to entertain combat.

Shrink Dude, MLK, Ghandi, and Lennon never consorted with people to kill my friends and fellow Americans. Nazi Germany was the unfortunate result of governments who were unwilling to take aggressive action during a time when violence could have been contained.

GA, What reality are you referring to?  You cite instances that haven’t occurred…  Let me help you with terror vs suspect discernment.  A signed application for enrollment to Al-Faruq training camp, being identified by Abu-Zubayda, Khalid Shaik Mohammed (AKA Uncle Muhktar, AKA The Brain) and several GTMO guests, being found in possession of the watch used exclusively by bomb makers trained by Mohammed Atef (at Al-Faruq). 

Ron, “peace has always worked…it works on a daily basis.”  I guess police departments are kind of obsolete, huh partner..?  Maybe we should have disbanded all of them years ago. I assume the training you are referring to is SERE training.  I have attended and your right, many people do cry, but I wouldn’t call any of them babies.  I don’t need to “...ask [myself] why…” in regard to the blindfold and chains I already know.  If you had the experience you suggest in your message you would as well. I understand and appreciate your remarks about rifles changing your perspective.  If you were in fact a trigger puller you did so in a tumultous time and I understand your reluctance at further violence.  I admire your service, but your judgment is suspect.

Merry Christmas,

WR

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 16, 2006 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“we are dealing with people today that hate their enemy more than they love their children”. Now think about that and YES I BELIEVE THATS TRUE.  We have thousands of childred that are being taught today among radical Isams that dieing with a bomb around your body killing your enemy is honorable.”

John,
I think you have been watching too many episodes of the TV series “Sleeper Cell”—-it’s amazing how an entire population can be demonized and dismissed, it’s like character assassination on a “grand scale”; destroying not one person, but an entire culture—-I guess, once a population is viewed as no longer being human,
it’s easier to slaughter them—-guilt free genocide—-hardly a concept limited to the 21st century, we might have flat screen TVs, but it seems that human nature hasn’t evolved in 2,000 years; the more things change the more they stay the same.

The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, the appalling treatment of the Palestinians, and the continual conflicts in Lebanon act as catalysts to radicalize Muslims throughout the Middle East.  The U.S. is viewed as an enabler.

Bush says stay the course, because to withdrawal will leave Iraq in chaos, but it is in chaos right now!  Staying indefinitely will only create more hatred toward the U.S.; we are viewed as occupiers and not liberators.

Any hope we initially gave to the Iraqi people   has been brutally dashed and replaced by the anarchy that now exists in the streets—-American militarism became a bitter pill for Iraqis to swallow in order to eliminate Saddam.  Our quest for geo-political dominance and oil under the guise of liberation is a fiasco; we are viewed as a bully nation that will stop at nothing to achieve its own selfish goals. 
 
So John, the issues are more complex that you have characterized them to be, and because of their complexity they can “never”  be resolved militarily, unless of course, we intend to annihilate the entire population of the Middle East-—who will we attack next, china?

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By John, December 15, 2006 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eleanor I bet your a blast on dates.  You sound like a pretty smart college student who doesn’t have time to worry about your job, you mortgage, your credit card debt, you children, their college fund.

You should know that there are more whites in prison than blacks but there is a larger percentage of black prisoners from the black population alone than there are white prisoners from the white poplulation.

As for the Saudis bombing the WTC…they were Radical Muslims more than they were Saudis.  We have got to be concerned about the radicals more than the Saudis.  It is the biggest danger in the world today to the safety of the world.  I heard a guy say this but I think it applies.  “we are dealing with people today that hate their enemy more than they love their children”. Now think about that and YES I BELIEVE THATS TRUE.  We have thousands of childred that are being taught today among radical Isams that dieing with a bomb around your body killing your enemy is honorable.  They are brain washed into believing that if they becomes martyrs they will go to paradise and be welcomed by 72 virgins.  Hell if that were true I volunteer myself but the fact is the people training are the cowards for not strapping a bomb on themselves rather than putting them on women and children.  So to answer your question I don’t care what country they come from.  IF they kill in the name of Allah and radical causes I think we should hunt them down like dogs and kill them.  You don’t want to live in that world but if you think YOU can sit down and discuss calmly with them our differences and somehow they will agree to live in peace with us your crazy.  That area of the world has never in history had a prolonged peace.  They don’t value life, women, children, peace, freedom or any of the values we do.  IF you disagree volunteer to go live in their society for a while and come back and tell me how it was.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 15, 2006 at 8:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development”; ok we are on to something….so if we stop the building of and operation of prison in IMPOVERISHED RURAL AREAS” what is your plan for the impoverished rural people you’ve now put out of work?”

John,
This kind of “economic development”  sounds “medieval”—-poor people work as indentured servants, employed by a corporate prison system that houses an under-class, primarily African-Americans who are incarcerated for committing nonviolent drug related crimes.  Drugs that have been transported from Mexico, a country that is corrupt with billionaire drug dealers. 

Although legislators in the U.S. intended to target “kingpins” and managers in drug distribution networks through mandatory minimums, the U.S. Sentencing Commission reports that only 5.5 percent of all federal crack cocaine defendants and 11 percent of federal drug defendants are high-level drug dealers. Thus, the people locked up for drug offenses are the low-level street dealers with high visibility. Mandatory minimums for drug offenses have contributed to the sky-rocketing incarceration rates nationwide. Currently, there are 2.1 million people in prison, with at least 500,000 incarcerated for drug offenses. More than 80 percent of the increase in the federal prison population from 1985 to 1995 is due to drug convictions, yet drug use has remained constant over the years.


“If it walks like a duck and quacks like duck it’s a duck.” 

If we sustain a bird-brain policy in the Middle-East we will be doomed—-energy independence and political disengagement is the way to go.

You say:  “Saudis are in the Middle East.  As for people being discriminated against because of their color only people like you focus on that.”

Each country and their population should be looked and analyzed independently, clumping all populations together creates a mentality that enforces ethno-centrism and xenophobia—-this lays the ground word for saying all Arabs and Muslims are part of an Islamofacist movement.

Why don’t you respond to my statement about the Saudis high-jacking planes on 9/11, and if that was the case,  then we should have invaded Saudi Arabia and not Iraq.

p.s. There are medications you can take for a headache—-just make sure they are legal!

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By John, December 14, 2006 at 11:09 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Eleanore somehow you either have massive headaches daily or you give others headaches with your rants and raves.  You wear me out. 

Saudis are in the Middle East.  As for people being discriminated against because of their color only people like you focus on that.  If it walks like a duck and quacks like duck its a duck. IF 4 guys pray in the airport, if 4 guys ask for seat belt extenders when they don’t need them and if 4 guys take random seats on a plane that are not their assigned seats…well YOU would simply look out the window and let life happen.  Other people on the plane were alarmed and took the correct action.
Our justice system is not perfect. No one claims it is.  Please tell me which country has a better system of justice than ours and if you can please tell me why you haven’t moved to that better country.  If Crime is down and prison population is up I don’t see a problem.  I think the 2 go hand in hand.  If you take more criminals off the street crime will go down.  20% of the crime is not caused by 20% of the criminals.  Criminals commit multi crimes before they are caught.  Fines and community service..what a great idea because we all know that criminals given fines and community service will always pay their fine’s which means they’d have to rob more people to come up with the money and they’d show up for their community service just like they show up for their regular jobs on a daily basis…wait..criminals don’t work daily jobs…
Bin Laden….I to am upset he hasn’t been caught.  We can use a space satillete to photo a cold sore on a nat’s ass but we can’t find him.  I don’t know whats up with that
“impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development”;  ok we are on to something….so if we stop the building of and operation of prison in IMPOVERISHED RURAL AREAS” what is your plan for the impoverished rural people you’ve now put out of work?  Personally if prisons can be run by private interests at a savings to federal tax payers I think its something we should look into.
Look you quote all the stats you want but why not come up with real solutions to the problems you bitch about?

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 13, 2006 at 3:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“If torture would have revealed the plot to bomb the WTC I would have wanted toture used to save those people INCLUDING you if you happened to work in the building.  Your view is that unless you KNEW the WTC was going to be attacked and you KNEW you would be in it and you KNEW they would attack YOUR floor with a jet THEN you might might have to make a decision.  I vote to save you and protect our country.”

John,
Saudis high-jacked those planes, but we did not invade Saudi Arabia—-the Bin Laden family were
the first to leave in a private plane after 9/11, and Bin Laden has been forgotten-—the entire incident “stinks” it smells like a burning Reichstag, perhaps, an horrendous event was needed to catapult the U.S. into a war in the Middle East.  If that is the case, you better purchase your timeshare for a private jet.  Paranoia about brown skinned populations will only lead to a psychosis which manifests itself in warrantless wire taps; illegal search and seizures, extraordinary renditions and 850 signing statements.   


Mespo,
If you think the U.S criminal justice is fair you’re either naive or ignorant.

In the last 3 decades - prison industrial complex had been developed in the US—confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum.
Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent. Increase because of imprisonment of people who have committed nonviolent offenses. Instead of community service, fines, or drug treatment - to a prison term, by far the most expensive form of punishment.
politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes;
impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development;
private companies tap into $35 billion a year spending on prisons
Spending on corrections since 1980s increased 5 times; there are more than 1000 vendors that sell corrections paraphernalia;
The growth projected 5-10% annually;
Private prisons keep 90,000 prisoners from 27 states
“Bed brokers,” rent a cell facilities ($20 to $60 a day with $2.50-5.50 commission per man-day); trucking prisoners hundreds of miles through the country - threat to public order; escapes;
Wackenhut Corrections, second largest private-prison company has ravenous $1 billion a year;
U.S. Corrections Corporation - the largest private-prison company wants to buy and run all state of Taxes’ prisons;
globalization of the private-prison business: British private-prison company, Securicor, operates two facilities in Florida; Wackenhut Corrections is now under contract to operate prison in England; three prisons in Australia; and a prison in Scotland. It is actively seeking prison contracts in South Africa.
1 pay phone in prison generates $15,000 a year; MCI installs phones for free;
Government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population.

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By John, December 13, 2006 at 7:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“we have a demented racist view towards brown skinned Middle-Eastern populations.”

I love it when other people decide what is racist and what is not.  So if 4 Middle Eastern People are praying in a airport and prasising ALLAH and putting down the US and then board a plane and ask for seat belt extenders and sit in random seats not assigned to them….that would not make even YOU go HMMMMMMMMMMMM.  Well if it does then you are a racist I guess.  Now if 4 middle eastern men sit beside me in Arby’s and have a sandwich I am not sure I would feel the same way.  The reason is I have learned lessons from past experiences.

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By John, December 13, 2006 at 7:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“to those of dubious intellect “

Why do liberals ALWAYS feel the need to question the intelligence of people who don’t agree with you?  Why do liberals ALWAYS feel that insulting others somehow makes your view morally superior?  I prefer to believe that differences of opinion mean that intelligent people CAN disagree.  Liberals believe disagreement with their point of view implies stupidity on the other persons part.  What a sad sad point of view.

“Whether I myself, in order to save my (or a) child from cetain harm I had to apply direct bodily harm to another human being, would I be capable of doing so? I hope beyond hope that I would never be tested.”

Well doesn’t that point of view make you special.  Who does hope they are tested.  You tell me to go to ethics school and then you say you don’t know ethically what you would do IF you were tested….can’t have it both ways.  So much for your moral superiority.

If torture would have revealed the plot to bomb the WTC I would have wanted toture used to save those people INCLUDING you if you happened to work in the building.  Your view is that unless you KNEW the WTC was going to be attacked and you KNEW you would be in it and you KNEW they would attack YOUR floor with a jet THEN you might might have to make a decision.  I vote to save you and protect our country.

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By mespo, December 12, 2006 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Eleanore:

Been gone a few days, but have enjoyed your reply. Just for the record, I said that no American ciizen I am aware of has been denied their day in court. The Guantanamo crowd don’t meet the definition of American citizens and don’t get the same rights if they, as alleged, took up arms against us.  You may recall no German Officers were tried by American Courts in WWII. To compare our country with Saddam is absurd, and doesn’t disprove my assertion that under American occupation, even the most vile of Iraqis gets their due process rights protected. Throwing invective at the US doesn’t aid your argument either.  That 500,000 Iraqi’s died in this war, does not disprove my assertion that sooner or later every American gets their day in court. And saying that because we do some injustice, we are therefore capable of no justice is equally fallacious reasoning.  It is just an ad hominen tu quoque attack. You might remember Adalai Stevenson who reminded us that “he who throws mud loses ground.”

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 12, 2006 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Don’t give me BS answers here.  IF a terrorist has information that could save you and yours from harm tell me you still don’t think torture should be used.”

John 41833—Don’t give us that propaganda crap about “evil doers” in order to rationalize torture—we’re sll sick of it.  We’re a nation that has become victims of our own BS—we have a demented racist view towards brown skinned Middle-Eastern populations.

This is a similar mentality that surfaced during WWII, when we built internment camps to hold the Japanese. 

Torture is never acceptable—experts state that it never reveals reliable info—but more importantly it says something about the U.S.—that we will easily give up our freedoms and allow ourselves to be manipulated by government BS propaganda.

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By Ga, December 12, 2006 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I can not believe that you all call yourselves Americans and exhibit that kind of bleeding heart puke over someone who hates the very blood corsing through your veins…”
—chris(USA)

How ironic that this fellow puts “USA” in his name.

I can say of you, I cannot believe that you call yourself American and not stand up for the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Ever hear of phrases like “All men are created equal,” “Due process,” “Rule of Law?”

Ever hear of something called “The Bill of Rights?”

Ever read something called the Sixth Amendment?

Why, during times of trouble, are people who so vehemently call themselves “Patriots” so quick to condemn others who want to retain the very ideals that are uniquely American of which it is the very definition of Patriotism to stand up for?

We must, WE MUST, retain our “American Ideals” ever the more so with regard to someone who may hate those very ideals.

Also, where is your evidence that Padilla was involved with what you claim he was involved in?

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By Ga, December 12, 2006 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“IF a terrorist has information that could save you and yours from harm tell me you still don’t think torture should be used.”

The “Ticking Time Bomb Scenaria” is hypothetical that only seems like it would work. There lacks evidence that such a situation would ever occur outside of thought experimentation.

It does, however, provide justification of torture, to those of dubious intellect who see no reason whatsoever to not deal violence against “bad people” as long as others are doing the violence.

My answer, would be I would NEVER want MY STATE to give the OKAY to DETAIN AND TORTURE ANYONE.

Ask me about whether some CIA agent in the field under battle conditions decided upon himself to beat some information out of someone directly involved in a conflict…. Ask me about that. I would have a different answer.

Whether I myself, in order to save my (or a) child from cetain harm I had to apply direct bodily harm to another human being, would I be capable of doing so? I hope beyond hope that I would never be tested.

But it still remains: I would NEVER want to see OUR GOVERNMENT SANCTIONING TORTURE. EVER.

Go back to ethics school, please.

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By John, December 12, 2006 at 11:52 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If we have a prisoner and we know he can tell us information that will save lives do we want to use some forms of torture to get that information?  Most of you would say NO for some very good reasons but let me ask you this….if you don’t use torture to some extent and then a school is blown up with your kids inside….a mall is bombed by a suicide bomber with your parents and spouse in the mall or a dirty bomb is set off in the building you work in…at that point do you think you might change your mind about using torture to save American lives?  Don’t give me BS answers here.  IF a terrorist has information that could save you and yours from harm tell me you still don’t think torture should be used.

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By Spinoza, December 11, 2006 at 2:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The scummy liberals are selling out as fast as they can.  Don’t think we will see any respite from the Dimocrats. Time to get guns and bombs and go after the fascists.

http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn12092006.html

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By Betsy, December 11, 2006 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am as appalled as anyone else at the way Mr. Padilla has been treated. 

However, my question is: What’s the proof that it was the torture that made him nuts?  Aren’t you assuming that he was entirely sane before he was “detained”?  It’s possible that, like some of the other yahoos caught up in the “terrorist” nets and/or kicked off airplanes, he was not particularly connected to reality before his arrest, and may have made delusional statements that the government in its “wisdom” (NOT) then interpreted as “terrorist.”

None of this of course would justify how he and others have been treated, which is shameful.  It’s just a plea for caution in what we claim is the harm done.  The definite harm is to a constitutional system that requires due process (or used to).  That’s enough to be outraged at, regardless of the details of what happens to any particular individual victim.

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By chris(USA), December 11, 2006 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No Bill…
Bergs dad was/is a known passifist..That disqualifies him from the conversation we are in as of now..I suppose by your statement that Berg was an automiton over there doing his dads work? Give me a break….and how do you come off telling me that MY opinions on this situation are somehow less than yours!!! Are you really that big of a Primadonna?...I bet you are swimming in friends with an pompous attitude such as that….SCHOOL ME BILL…PLEASE!!!!

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By BILL, December 11, 2006 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris usa,
Your comment about Mr. Berg is a lttle off the mark. While it was a tragedy carried out by fools who apparently did not understand that Mr. Berg was there to help them, or if they did realize this, they are criminals and should face justice, your level of hatred about it is not understandable, since Mr. Berg’s father asigned the blame for this crime on Bush and Co., not those that actually did the deed and since he is the man’s father, his view should be respected, whether either of us agree with it or not.
Likewise, I can see from your posts that you are not going to open your mind to any facts that differ from what you already believe, which apparently, is my country right or wrong period.
Bill

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By chris(USA), December 10, 2006 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bob.

You are an O.K guy…You know your stuff.
I am the first person to say that the USA has big stick brokered many insane plans and accords and many other black projects that have painted my nation in a rightly deserved poor light to say the least. The first thing that I harken to is the blind support of Israel on everything without question..That one is a real head scratcher to me..Palestinians have a right to be upset..But..I have an even bigger problem with ill chosen wars and the people who conduct them at just the right pitch to profit from them. Further made worse by these very people sitting at the helm of power in the USA. My entire point is that I hate to see this type of thing going on and if war is our only option…then fight it to end it as soon as possible..I do not believe that we as a nation are capable of this any longer…I know that there has been a fundamental change in the mental/intellectual make up of this land..and yes we all go to colledge and go nuts with the questions of reality but we need to grow up at some point.

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By smcgee43, December 10, 2006 at 6:03 pm Link to this comment
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Maybe Chris(USA) and WagonRepairMan should go on over to Iraq, Afghanistan and or beautiful Guantanamo Bay,spend some time in the prisons there - let us know how you like the treatment. I am sure you won’t want to leave, as you’ll be having so much fun. Read up on your history guys…..this country of “ours” ain’t so perfect.

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By ronnie, December 10, 2006 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
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A brilliant and courageous piece!

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By Bob Jackson, December 10, 2006 at 4:08 am Link to this comment
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Chris, Chris,

Calm down, please. Padilla is your guy, your government’s darling.

Just look at the charge: his “interest was in jihad in Bosnia and Chechnya”.

Now think back. After the Berlin Wall fell, Europe tried to smash Yugoslavia, demanding that it change its economic system, and began to recognize its constituent republics.

Bosnia began to crack. Cyrus Vance and David Owen brokered a deal which would have held moderates together.

But Warren Zimmerman, your ambassador, rushed up to persuade the radical Islamist Izetbegovic to reject it. Your government then flew thousands of jihadis into Bosnia, who went on the rampage, adopting the name of the Nazi’s crack division.

The NATO court in the Hague recently released one to a hero’s welcome: he was responsible for the grisly deaths of 3,800 named Serbs (elderly people and children) around Srebrenica. That’s rather more than died in the World Trade Centre.
People have served longer sentences for traffic violations.

After 100,000 unnecessary deaths, your government accepted the Vance-Owen power-sharing agreement at Dayton.

You flew the jihadis into Bosnia, and they in turn flew all the way into the Twin Towers. You’re looking in the mirror, boy.

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By CrazySailr, December 10, 2006 at 2:37 am Link to this comment
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In general, I agree with the liberal thinkers. Terrible injustices have been visited upon Jose Padilla.

But there are problems with the arguments on both sides. This one small example of injustice that the US Government has committed against a small time failure of a terrorist. We are all missing the root cause of the situation that Jose Padilla finds himself in.

Why has the US government found it necessary to kill thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghani citizens , imprison and torture, with very questionable legality - hundreds or thousands of suspected terrorists? Why do the jihadis want to slaughter without mercy or warning all infidels? Why do the fundamentalist christians believe that the world needs to end in order to escort the return of Christ? Why does the jewish state of Israel need to protect themselves from the Palestinian jihadis and in the process make life unbearable for innocent Palestinians? Why do the Palestinian’s hate the Israelis enough to encourage children to blow up themselves and innocent Israelis? This religious based hatred covering the globe goes on and on, We could fill volumes with other equally valid examples.

So, anyone want to hazard a guess? Here is my idea. It’s not original, but it is valid:

The root cause is the Blind Faith Humans we accord god. Why does mankind find it necessary to believe in god, and fight over that belief, Do you really think there is a heaven or hell or an afterlife or god? Well I don’t. I believe that the only heaven or hell we will ever know is the one we make for ourselves here on earth. Those of us who have been more lucky or skillful at living a comfortable life while they are here are closer to that self defined ideal “Heaven on Earth” than those of us who have not been as lucky or skillful, and live their lives in varying degrees of misery.

In this modern world, where any reasonable person knows conclusively that we are an evolving species, living on an ever changing planet, in a chaotic infinite universe, held together by complex truths. We should know better than to need the crutch of god or religion. Our only religion should be Humanism. Society should have long ago figured out that god was only a tool that our forefathers used to try to teach the people of their time how to become better people. god is not real, and he never was. The sooner we humans figure this out, the sooner we will be able to get down to really fixing what we can of the mess that this planet is rapidly becoming.

Think about this for a moment. How much wealth, both intellectual and material has the human race dedicated to the pursuit of faith and religion during the past 5766 years? And how much wealth and intellectual capital has been spent on making war against each other? Both of these sums are truly incalculable.  Both are inextricably intertwined.  I have no doubt that more humans would be living in paradise right now here on earth, if we had spent only a fraction of this wasted wealth on a more humanist agenda. If you take all that money and mind power and spent it wisely on a Humanistic world, well, then I think that we would only have natural disasters to fear as a race. As if that isn’t enough to fear. If you are not familiar with the term “humanist” google it.
Perhaps someday, humans might figure out we have been fooled. Stop spending your money on church, temple or mosque. Start spending it on electing people brave enough to admit that they don’t believe in god nor in going to war for god. Tell a friend to do the same. Tell your politicians it is OK not to believe in god.

Don’t just separate church from state. Get rid of religion altogether. The religious are a twisted bunch nowadays, because they have been bending over backwards for so long trying to keep everyone believing in the unbelievable.

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By chris (USA), December 9, 2006 at 11:53 pm Link to this comment
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Bill—-
I guess with that simple minded assesment of the USA in your tweakey little nutshell…leaves you only one choice…Cast off the soil you so selfcenterdly stand on for other shores..May I suggest one of your favorites…Iran, Iraq, any of the Stans..they all are nice this time of year..Just be shure you take your snow boots that were made in China..or some other nation that has 20 cent an hour labor…Your point of view, all though only yours..is muddy and pukey and so stupidly weak and sophmoric that I have to believe you are between 16 and 21 years old..So why filth up this conversation with your piffle when you should either leave the country or go sign on the dotted line and get your ass shot off?

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By Francisco Almeida, December 9, 2006 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment
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I am not am American citizen, but I much admire 90% of the influences da USA has brought to the world. They are greater than political plots and military interventions. I am NOT just another anti-US crap pal.

Amazing to see 99% of posters here are really an army of righteous citizens. Defending Bill of Rights, due process in court: Founding Fathers made a great job, Jeez.

It’s reasonable to presume they represent a fairly good percentage of nationals.

So, who da hell has voted for republicans last november?

Why da hell so many people didn’t f*kn’ care to go voting, under moral obligation, and stayed home just to have french fries?

Fellas, quite frankly, it’s time you have another American Revolution… Otherwise the confederates will take over ya country so nicely built…

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 9, 2006 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Mespo,
Here are some facts:

Most of the detainees still at Guantanamo are not scheduled for trial. As of November 2006, according to MSNBC.com, out of 775 detainees who have been brought to Guantanamo, approximately 340 have been released, leaving 435 detainees. Of those 435, 110 have been labeled as ready for release. Of the other 325, only “more than 70” will face trial, the Pentagon says. That leaves about 250 who may be held indefinitely.


“Do you really doubt that he is a mass murderer, and believe that a US-style trial would have exonerated him? I had no idea that you were a Saddam supporter! Fight the power baby!”

The 500,000 Iraqis that were murdered did not get a fair trial—a pre-emptive strike in the name of oil sounds like genocide to me—so let’s have a global contest, we can find out which country commits the most crimes against humanity—I’m sure that Iraq, under Saddam, would NOT win this tournament.

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By bloonfld, December 9, 2006 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment
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Would it be so simple that we would allow the Rule of Law to partiscipate in our current dilema. Robert Scheer is wholly correct in stating what should happen.  Unfortunately, we live with a bunch of criminals as our government.  Enough said.

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By gestapo shrink, December 9, 2006 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment
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Ah yes ChrisUSA and WagonRepairman, it’s good to hear you pipe up, lest we close those secret prisons down too soon before all you guys are rounded up.

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By Thomas, December 9, 2006 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
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Unfortunately, we still have no clear idea exactly how 9/11 happened.  The first instinct of the administration after 9/11 was to make it all secret.  Take the time to watch bush as he sits there knowing that the planes have hit & people are dying. He doesn’t stand up, he doesn’t demand more information, he just placidly sits there!  Who does he appoint to investigate? Kissinger! A person who is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions, but no investigative experience, is telling in itself. And rmember that hundreds of billions of dollars worth of oil was “liberated” for American corporations. Cheneys corporation Halburton, made 10s of billions or more.  Follow the $$$$$$$$!!  Forget all the flowery talk. This war is a crime.  It is a grand, grand theft.  Afghanistan has been given over to NATO (no oil?)  Iraq is where these criminals are focusing their efforts because Iraq is the prize of the entire effort.

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By Ga, December 9, 2006 at 9:16 am Link to this comment
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Wagon Repairman’s view that “Swift, brutal, and complete violent domination that leaves your opponent without will or ability to retaliate” is the only answer is mind-blowing in its absolute absurdity.

Tell me, Wagon, do you apply such violence in your daily life? Did you bring swift, brutal, and complete violence against other children on the playground growing up?

Okay. You mean against our enemies and on the battlefield, etc.

But do you also mean against criminals? Would you want swift, brutal, and complete violence against pot smokers? Against parking violators?

No, no, no. You mean against terrorists. Against “bad guys,” right?

But how do you discern just who is a terrorist? Where do you draw the line of complicity? How close does one have to be to a terrorist to be arrested and tortured without warrant? What if you unwittingly rented an apartment to Padilla? Would you be singing your tune if you had been detained as a terrorist suspect and treated as you want terrorist suspects to be treated?

And the more one asks these kinds of questions the more complex the issues become.

Your hard-line, “us against them” stance breaks down when applied to reality. You want us to throw out completely the idea of innocent until proven guilty. You confuse the term “suspect” with “terrorist”. Yes, we arrest “suspects” just in case they are guilty. But your torture first because it is the only way attitude is morally corrupt as it lack any morals at all and leaves us with a brutish system of vigilantism that will only create more enemies.

Of course, you will twist my words into, “You want to be nice to terrorists.” But the point is that we must adhere to rule of law, not to the rule of violent domination.

Of course, you are probably just a troll.

What do you really know about the Padilla case? You seem only to believe the accusations only and have no interest in finding the truth (i.e. investigating the case yourself and not just reading the headlines of the news sources you like).

If you think that all the Federal cases against “terrorists” in the U.S. are open and shut cases you are sadly mistaken. Many have been fraught with bad intelligence.

Check this out: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/enemywithin/lodi/

Peace never solved anything? Only because people who talk like Mr. Repairman will not let it. People who talk like Mr. Repairman are the kind of people who assasinate or jail peaceful leaders so as to allow to continue a system of brutal violence.

Violence only begets more violence.

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By bill, December 9, 2006 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
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Chris usa is not the only problem, although his level of understanding of the bill of rights is truly unique. He does however remind me of our forefathers in some ways.
After the Powhatan tribe helped feed the early colonists, the colonists turned on them because they wanted their land. There trick was to pretend to want peace, wait until just before their harvest and then swoop down, kill as many men women and children as possible and then burn their crops so they would starve. This method worked fine in Plymouth colony as well.
After the country was finally born in the blood of the innocents who lived here, a constitution and bill of rights were enacted, but it only actually applied to propertied white males and it has always been a fight to include everyone else. This has not changed and criminals like Bush and Co. are just trying to undo the gains made over the last hundred years or so. So Cris, I guess you must be one of those ruling elites who knows instictively who should live, die or be imprisoned without legal recourse.

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By smcgee43, December 9, 2006 at 1:38 am Link to this comment
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Comment #41069 by Arun - FYI - I did not vote for that idiot who is in the oval office now. The chucklenut that is in that office now got in there because of missing votes and voter fraud. Read Greg Palasts’ book ” The Best Democracy Money Can Buy”  you’ll understand then what happened.

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By Amazing, December 9, 2006 at 12:04 am Link to this comment
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I see that we have our share of pint-sized Idi Amins who delight in torture.  A reckoning is on the way. 9/11 was blowback for American crimes that dwarf the attack on the World Trade Center.  By conservative estimate, US militarism has killed 15 million human beings since the end of the Second World War. Korea. Vietnam. Iran. Guatemala. Haiti. The Dominican Republic. Brazil. Indonesia. Greece. Argentina. Chile. Nicaragua. Panama. A five decade siege against the people of Cuba. The 15 year long torture of the people of Iraq. The list of our crimes is endless.  Could it be that some neuron in the deep recesses of your narrow mind vibrates with this knowledge? Knows that today’s technology makes a retaliatory attack by the people we’ve abused a real possibility? The brown people who are supposed to cringe and slave for the American Empire after we bomb and torture them into submission? Is that the reason for your cowardice? Cheerleading for the outrageous torture of Jose Padilla will not make you safe. A little self knowledge and historical honesty is your only hope.

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By Spinoza, December 8, 2006 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
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When are we going to see Bush&Co;. in jail or executed?

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By Chris (USA), December 8, 2006 at 9:46 pm Link to this comment
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Hey there wannabe shrink…Spoken like a true Brit.I would be pissed to if lived in that filth.

Oh I wish that all of you pieces of work that want to teach a civics/ Government lesson to me by making half assed “You better go back to 101” comments..Be more creative…you are telling me you are educated by positioning yourself as an authority on the subject yet you say NOTHING of any weight or merit! All you can do is get defensive…Must be an enormous amount of self-hate in your dark little hearts…I mean if I can get this kind of response from several of you sucky little small-minders…There is more than truth in what I say and you know it!...I hope you enjoy lamenting on how unfair the government is to these people…and while you are at it..download the video of Nick Berg having his freakin’ head cut from his body screaming and begging to GOD himself not to let it happen, until the blood flodded into his throat choking him from words and all that you will hear are his last labored breaths..and then you can rejoice with the “Freedom Fighters” (as I know that is how your kind sees them)..in a very spirited praise to Allah..your new and future MANDATED diety..There is your freedom…And by the way these people that you blush over like a promnight virgin…Would just love to give you the same haircut they gave Mr. Berg. Also..peacedogs that you so stupidly are..Berg was there on a humanitarian project..He did not like what was going on there any more than you do or I for that matter..So spread out the new prayer rug and start sucking.

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By timid&shabby, December 8, 2006 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
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Hey Wagon Repair guy, ya best stock up on some ammo so you can make sure you take out all eight justices of the Supreme Court that ruled in the Hamdi case that even “enemy-combatants” need to be afforded due process (it’s OK, just pretend Roberts is Rehnquist). I personally wouldn’t let the fear of those who follow a medieval philosophy to allow me to resort to medieval tactics, but then my brain isn’t in the barrel of gun. But I do agree, gunning down anyone who so much as looks at an A-rab sure will keep us mighty safe. Hopefully I can borrow Jose’s, I mean Abdullah’s, cool goggles. I think everyone would need them if we really lived in your world.

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By shrink dude, December 8, 2006 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment
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wagon repairman -  you got a loose wheel on your cart there man.

Would you have called Martin Luther King or Ghandi or John Lennon a determined adversary? Were their killings a lasting solution? Hell, peace has broke out half a dozen times since then. And the solution to peace is…?

“Peace never solved anything.?” “Violence is the only lasting solution?” Where in history or hell do you get that from? Was ‘shock and awe,” or the carpet bombing of N. Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia not sufficiently swift, brutal or completely violent enough for you. We shoulda nuked em, is that what you’re saying? You really figure that woulda left them without will or ability to retaliate? For how long?

Come on dude. You think you’re Steven Segal or something?

Nazi Germany was just a consortment of psychos, sociopaths, and latter day skinheads who got control. You think those types of people got wiped off the surface of the earth and that was that? 

How in the hell do you complete and utterly dominate a randomely spaced bunch of suicide bombers for Christ’s sake?

You gotta look em in the face, dude. See if their not real people with real greivances before you kill em, don’t you?

By the way, you got a loose wheel on your cart. It’s wobbling there in the back, if you didn’t know.

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By Ron Ranft, December 8, 2006 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment
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Comment #41423 by Wagon Repairman on 12/08 at 3:02 pm

Everything that you said points to your being a barbarian. What you say about using violence is true when one is dealing with barbarians. By your assumption someone should rain down violence upon you and not let up until you are dead. The problem with that is that it turns whoever does it into a barbarian also. Rather self defeating.

Peace has always worked. It works on a dailey basis. That is why we get up and go to work, to school, to the movies and do all the things we do without fear of violence. Until someone like you comes along and tries to make the point that Peace doesn’t work.

I am a Viet Nam Vet. I can tell by your statement that you have never picked up a rifle let alone used it. Once you have, it changes ones perspective on Life. I was wondering, have you volunteered to serve in Iraq.

And what does a prisoner going to a dental exam need to be chained and blindfolded for? Did you ever think to ask yourself that? Who do you think this guy is, James Bond? And so what if he was found guilty in Eygpt? Found guilty of what? And just where did you find that little tidbit, did Rush, or O’Reilly tell you.

When you go through escape and evasion as part of your military training, let me know how you stood up under the torture. You will probably cry like a baby. And remember, you sure aren’t fighting for my freedom. I own mine!

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By Jeanne, December 8, 2006 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wagonrepairman,
Back up your statements with facts would you? Link some of this information.

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By kevo, December 8, 2006 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment
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Chris(USA) - your mind is a menace to our society! -Kevo

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By mespo72, December 8, 2006 at 6:28 pm Link to this comment
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Dear Eleanor,  Questions are not illogical since they assert nothing; propositions can be though. Still waiting for that counter-example of a US citizen denied the chance to get into a US Court. Maybe you could come up with one without all the rhetoric or protestations that your thoughts are somehow self-evident because they are yours. You have failed to support any of them with any facts. ( BTW emotional blurtings or challenging the opponents intellect doesn’t count) You can certainly challenge the degree or quality of due process that Saddam received. You cannot however deny that he, at a minimum, received the chance to be heard (when he was civil, of course)and to confront witnesses against him. Pretty novel by Mideastern standards. Do you really doubt that he is a mass murderer, and believe that a US-style trial would have exonerated him? I had no idea that you were a Saddam supporter! Fight the power baby!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 8, 2006 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment
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“I would like to know who she thinks has wanted their day in court and not gotten one”

Mespo—Your comment would be amusing if it wasn’t so illogical and silly.  I can’t believe, you used Saddam’s trial as an example of justice.

Do you live in the U.S.?  Are you “blind” to our criminal system—don’t you know that folks get the best justice they can buy!

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By Wagon Repairman, December 8, 2006 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment
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First, nice homework on the part of “Narciso.”

Second, here are a couple of thoughts for the rest of you eggheads.

1. Padilla was being transported to recieve dental care from his “ruthless captors” when these photos were taken.

2. This chucklehead has already been sentenced to death in absentia in Egypt.  Maybe we should have just handed him over on day 1. 

3.  For all of those weeping that “it could happen to you next”, your damned right it could.  Sounds to me like a good reason not to consort with those plotting to do harm to the US or its citizens.

4.  For all of you left over hippies, know this… Peace never solved anything.  When dealing with a determined adversary, violence is the only lasting solution.  Swift, brutal, and complete violent domination that leaves your opponent without will or ability to retaliate. Just ask the trenchcoat mafia!  Ladies, your failure to understand this concept is excusable.  Fellas, either you never got thumped on the playground or you didn’t learn a blessed thing from it.  Either way, rest assured there are those of us perfectly willing to pick-up a rifle and toe the line for our country.

4. Stop crying for troops.  We aren’t wrong, We aren’t sorry, and we’ll definitely do it again!

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By mespo72, December 8, 2006 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment
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Poor Eleanore Kjellberg. I guess she missed the part about Padilla’a attorney explaining his mis-treatment in court filings. Sounds like his day in court is coming soon. The wheels may turn slowly, but they do turn. I would like to know who she thinks has wanted their day in court and not gotten one. Even Saddam got some sort of justice under American occupation—albeit Iraqi style.

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By wannabe shrink, December 8, 2006 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment
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Atta boy chrisUSA, you tell em. I bet that felt good aye? Putting all them lillylivered pot smokers in their place like that. It must be fun living in your head thinking you cut everybody a new asshole so clean and quick. We coulda used you in that other stupid war mowindown Asian kids and such with gonads like you got there. Must feel good to puff up and strut around like that.

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By Eric, December 8, 2006 at 1:23 pm Link to this comment
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My comment is in response to Chris who posted on 12/08…First off, your argument could have some merit if you were intelligent enough to construct your comment in a convincing manner…you are correct that we, as a country, need detainment centers to house dangerous criminals…however, before we can place someone in these centers, we must first charge the perpetrator with some sort of crime…secondly, we must make sure that the alleged culprit is given the right, the inherent right, to habeas corpus…just because he or she is accused of some sort of crime does not mean he or she ceases to be a human being…finally, we must treat this prisoner as a human being and not some genepool reject that ascended from some primordial muck…as a country, we are supposed to be on the forefront of ethical practice and so far we are failing miserably…these are not idealistic views as you claim they are…they are evident truths that every human born has the right to live out…so please, lift the fog of ignorance from your clouded mind and realize that Mr. Padilla is just like you and me…a human being

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By Jeanne, December 8, 2006 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment
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Chris,
People lost their property during the internment during WWII. Those people considered themselves Americans but were treated as enemies of the country. If you don’t have a problem with that I think you’d better go back to American History 101.

If you think taking someone off the street and throwing them in solitary for 2 or 3 years is ok you are plain wrong. Padilla has committed what? I don’t know yet. It keeps changing. May I suggest you look at the case of Abdel-Muhti.

“Palestinian activist Farouk Abdel-Muhti was released from jail Monday night nearly two years after he was detained by U.S. immigration officials. He was never charged with a crime. In a national exclusive, Democracy Now! speaks with Abdel-Muhti in his first interview as a free man. He discusses his release, his struggle for freedom and the conditions of his detention which included 8-months of 23-hour lockdown in solitary confinement.”

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/04/13/1443256&mode=thread&tid=25

I got this information from Democracy Now. Farouk died soon after his release from heart disease made much worse because he was not treated properly while imprisoned. He left behind a son who was still a minor. By the way, we are all hurt by his death because he was a guiding light for peace.

Calling me and the others here irresponsible because I refuse to stand behind a president and his administration who are slowly and painfully dismantle our democracy is ridiculous.

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By CitizenUSA, December 8, 2006 at 12:08 pm Link to this comment
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This TERROR on US Citizen Padilla… is just that..TERROR- Terrorism.

The use of “case-Padilla” to incite general fear and discourage dissent… IS Terror… TERRORISM.

The fact that this Orchestrated TERROR came from and continues—from the Top Levels and hijacked bureaus of OUR US GOVERNMENT—only magnifies the Crimes committed by those WHO are ORCHESTRATING TERROR from within OUR Nation.. and on our AIRWAVES, into the Public Mind.

Their Effectiveness and severity of these CRIMES of TERROR, crimes of TREASON, crimes against Citizens and against the US Constituion REQUIRES and DEMANDS JUSTICE.

It’s THAT SIMPLE.  JUSTICE!

The USA’s PRIOR, and NEW Terror LAWS, (any which are Just) MUST BE APPLIED to ALL CONSPIRATORS and CRIMINALS who Have CONDUCTED these CONS, CRIMES and TERROR on the USA, Its Citizens and The World.

Nothing Else Matters. Justice. Here. Now. Or Game Over. Which is their well-timed-plan ANYHOW.  God Bless. Amen.

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By chris (USA), December 8, 2006 at 9:02 am Link to this comment
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To all the irresponsible go-along-get alongs..I think that it is sad that you have so little faith in the mettal that our constitution is made of…You need to read it over again and stop interpreting the thing to meld your own self rightious “All are equal under the law” dreams…Life is not fair..and if it was left up to people like you..Death would not be fair either..You are the problem with this country..The lack of fortitude to prosecute a war and stay hard and cold until it is over. I happen to have a “Thinking mans view of the world and do not fall on one side or the other..You weak head-shrinker wannabes try to “Take a side in everything and that is what makes you “Not ready for prime time”..I feel that you selectivly remember the history you barf up to make your points..all of which are weak as you…Do any of you remember a thing called internment camps in ww2? I know that it might shock you into spilling your “Virgin” eggnoggs this time of year…but there were tens of thousands of citizens of German(which are my kinfolk)and Japanese CITIZENS held for A LONG period of time….Oh the shame of it all!!!! This nation according to you negligent victims of your own self-love…should have collapsed under those cvil rights abusses many years ago…It is sad that there are no more Harry Trumans or people of that mettal in our country any longer because these wars that we have incorrectly chosen would never have happened, and in the event that an event like 9-11 happened..The following conflict would have lasted about 30 minutes and then ..to quote myself as you all have done..“That would be that”
and we could all be sitting around your bong smoke filled VW buses listening to John Lennon weeping for all tht were lost singing “Give peace a chance”...koum-bi-ya yall!

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By Jon B, December 7, 2006 at 8:12 pm Link to this comment
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This is a ruthless administration without regard to human rights and has no moral values.

On the other hand, I have to say that this man robert sheer has one helluva heart and righeousness.

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By Ga, December 7, 2006 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
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Chris…..Why get upset at the mis-treatment of a not-so-nice person?

Because, someday they will come for you.

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By Ron Ranft, December 7, 2006 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment
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omment #40971 by narciso on 12/06 at 5:45 am

So, can you explain how any of this warrents Padilla’s treatment? Where is the crime? Where is the intent?

Not only haveBush, Cheney and all of their appointed criminals engaged in the most barbaric of behavior, our elected representatives have gone along with them. They passed the Patriot Act without reading it. They handed over all their power to Bush allowing him to invade 2 sovereign countries, to place wiretaps on phones without warrents. They passed the Military Commisons Act allowing torture and the suspension of what our Constitution says are unalienable rights. They have failed to provide any oversight over the rape pillage and plunder by American Corporations in Iraq.

For all their participation, none of this would not be possible without everyday people doing what they should not be doing. The person that put the earmuffs, legchains, goggles and led Padilla to his interrogation along with the interrogators are all party to what happened to this man. They made it possible. One of the most important points of the Nuremberg Trials was that “I was just following orders” was not an acceptable defense. Surely these people knew and know that what they are doing is wrong. Have they no sense of other? Or are they incapable of thinking, “what if this were me, or one of my family?”

The fact that we have let all this not only go on but have condoned it because of our fear is shameful. Will the US ever be able to say that it is the defender of the weak and the poor of the world. Will the US ever be able to say, we, of all the people of the world know what is right and we will hold to that concept no matter who attacks us and no matter what the circumstances again? Unless we bring these lying, fraudulent criminals to justice, I don’t think so!

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 7, 2006 at 7:35 pm Link to this comment
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Mespo72—must be a barrister!  No, everyone does not get their day in court—that’s the problem.

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By Bluestocking, December 7, 2006 at 7:23 pm Link to this comment
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Why are people like Scheer suddenly coming to the revelation NOW that the United States has turned away from its ideals?  To those of us who’ve been PAYING ATTENTION, this isn’t exactly breaking news! Some of us have known that for oh…at least the past four years!  Gimme a freakin’ break…

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By Kathleeen Bushman, December 7, 2006 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment
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I wish that the Dems could simply cut off funding to end this war - that would be terrific.  The problem as I see it is that this administration does not seem to be bound by the constitution or by any ethical system; if congress cuts its funding I see the admin istration making emergency allocations and moving money around from the VA, the EPA or Social Security and then claim some lame-brained legal principle to justify its actions.

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By mespo72, December 7, 2006 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment
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Take Heart! Sooner or later, everybody gets their day in Court - even those the government despises. Now, maybe we can finally get over all that anti-lawyer propoganda.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 7, 2006 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment
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“the people who need to be dealt with..need to be dealt with and that is that!!.”

Chris,
Who are the people that need to be dealt with—most of the people rotting in Guantanamo Bay committed no crime—-they were swooped-up in Afghanistan by bounty hunters—-if you cannot defend yourself; if you are not permitted to see the evidence that is being used against you, and if you are indefinitely imprisoned—-then how are your captors different, from those Germans who held power 60 years ago.

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By yours truly, December 7, 2006 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
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When will they face their day of accountability in a court of law?  We make sure that Congress cuts off all funding for the Iraq war and they’ll get their day in court.

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By Lee Driver, December 7, 2006 at 12:58 pm Link to this comment
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ChrisUSA - your black or white view,  “the people who need to be dealt with..need to be dealt with and that is that!!” is what is so manipulatable by the Karl Roves and Ashcrofts of this earth. If we left it to you and those two, Jessica Lynch and Pat Tilman would have performed heroic, cinematic acts and that’s all there is to it! In all likelihood Padilla should be in jail, but you can hardly look at this and not know that what he is has been made to seem far worse, specifically and intentionally to promote fear and justify taking away due process, just as the trumped up stories of Lynch and Tilman were intended to glorify war. I hope at least you include among those who need to be dealt with, those who would lie, cheat and kill, and perform illegal acts across the world in ours and God’s name. If so then, fine.

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By kevo, December 7, 2006 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment
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Chris(USA) truly does’t know what it is to be an American citizen.  I conjecture that he is a native born American, and if so, you (Chris(USA)) are in need of a refresher course on what your nation is supposed to be all about - despite what other people or nations or cultures may indeed be about. 

We abide, last time I checked, by the rule of law where the powers of the government are limited, sovereignty rests in the hands of the people, and citizens are afforded the Bill of Rights.  Very real and very sober circumstances.  Our current shift to allow matters to go on that are at least extralegal and at worse work to actively undermine our Constitutional underpinnings, we leave ourselves vulnerable to a more threatening enemy - whim, caprice, might makes right authoritarianism right here in our good ol’USA. 

I believe Chris(USA) needs to feel the shame for being so sophomoric on this very important issue of what makes us a unique and democratic people here in America. -Kevo

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By HeadlessHessian, December 7, 2006 at 12:32 pm Link to this comment
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Honest Abe was right, when he said:
From January 27, 1838:  “Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never!”…….”At what point, then, is the approach of danger to be expected?  I answer, If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad.  If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher.  As a nation of freemen we must live through all time, or die by suicide.” 
With the election of Bush in 2000 it began, with the re-election in 2004 we perpetuted the wrong.  I sincerely hope that this past cylce was not too late in disarming BushCo.

Headless

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By Jeanne, December 7, 2006 at 10:04 am Link to this comment
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Chris…..Why get upset at the mis-treatment of a not-so-nice person?

I wouldn’t know how nice or not nice he is. I haven’t seen the evidence. Padilla hasn’t gone to trial. None of the investigation has been made public that I’m aware of. There is very little official about his case.

And

Even not so nice people deserve rights. We are civilized and in a civilized country we act according to the rules laid down to protect every citizen from misrepresentation, underrepresentation and plain old lawlessness. Every citizen. Not the ones we choose to protect.

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, December 7, 2006 at 9:19 am Link to this comment
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Chris…..Why get upset at the mis-treatment of a not-so-nice person?

BECAUSE IF IT CAN BE DONE TO HIM, IT CAN BE DONE TO YOU, OR YOUR FAMILY, OR MY FAMILY, OR ANY OF THE READERS FAMILIES.

THINK NOT?

YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF NOT-SO-NICE PEOPLE WHO HAVE ALMOST TOTAL CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AND YOU ARE SITTING THERE SAYING, BUT THAT MAN WAS AWFUL, SO IT IS OK TO GO AGAINST EVERYTHING THIS COUNTRY STANDS FOR, AT LEAST IN SOME OF THE MINDS OF IT´S CITIZENS.

HOW ARE YOU DIFFERENT FROM MR PADILLA?

MAYBE YOU WILL NOT LIVE LONG ENOUGH TO SEE YOUR VICTIMS?

SINS OF OMISSION ARE AS DEADLY AS SINS OF COMISSION.

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By Gonnuts, December 7, 2006 at 7:58 am Link to this comment
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This country was not defeated from enemies from within.

I use the past tense because America has long been reduced to a shell of what the founding fathers wished it to be. What we are witnessing is the obvious result of a cancer that has been festering for many decades. What we are about to experience is the consequences of this loss.

I don’t think most Americans are aware of just how much of our rights have been subverted or the severity of the bill we’re about to pay.

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By jonas south, December 7, 2006 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
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The silence of the innocent over the past three years engulfed us all, Robert Sheer included. Is it too little and too late to protest the shameful, dehumanizing policies of this administration? How can we atone for our sins of silence? In this regard, Sheer´s last sentence offers a ray of faint hope.

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By John F. Butterfield, December 7, 2006 at 6:36 am Link to this comment
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Be afraid! Be very afraid! More than 5% of voters still voted republican in the last election. More than 10%, more than 20%, it’s scary.

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By Antoinette, December 7, 2006 at 3:03 am Link to this comment
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How many innocent men are languishing in ‘Dentention centers?(Guantanamo,Federal Prisons, Iraqi prisons) How quickly did the media forget the denials of RIce and Bush that there were no illlegal detention sites in european countries? The Bush Administration didnt even bother to explain away the oddity,when the very same Detainees (that wernt supposed ot be incarcerated, away from our shores)were transferred to Guantanamo.

Why is America asleep? Is it too hard to bare to see what we have become in a mere 6 years?

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By Herman Kagan, December 6, 2006 at 9:50 pm Link to this comment
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Robert Sheer’s article entitled, “Becoming What We Despise,” should be extended to declare “And Despise What We Are Becoming.”

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By Jon B, December 6, 2006 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment
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Bush is elected by right wing evangelicals. Insofar as this torture is concerned, and there are many other, I don’t hear a word from these “christians”.

People are doing evil things in the name of jesus, The last two elections revealed a lot of them.

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By Jeanne, December 6, 2006 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment
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This is so twisted. I feel like a member of my family has been arrested for serial rape. It’s just so wrong and these people who have treated Padilla this way represent me. They are the officials in charge. Where are the morals, the ethics? Why does this administration try at every turn to take the dignity away from a more vulnerable being? Why the extraordinary rendition? Why the actions in Gitmo? Why the actions against the people in Iraq? Why this? Why?

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By Dan Noel, December 6, 2006 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment
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Indeed, the Padilla case epitomize an executive in search of absolute power. Should the Bush administration have had its way with it, the door would have been opened to the arbitrary and indefinite detention of virtually anyone based on the whim of the president.

I guess that the only objective of the federal government at this point is to control their image and blame whatever break Padilla may get on the blindness of soft judges who cannot distinguish between patriots and enemies of the United States.

It is indeed a grave concern. However, the federal justice system is filled with countless aberrations, albeit less salient than the Padilla case.

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By LibertyWatch, December 6, 2006 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment
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The blatant disregard by this administration for our Constitutional civil liberties and our high standard of “legal checks and balances” to prevent such governmental abuse of any human is a disgraceful criminal act in itself. This black mark on America will take decades to correct and hold those accountable who have distorted their powers to circumvent every protection of our civil liberties and guarantees of our Constitutional Rights.

Mr. Padilla deserves his day in court before a judge and jury since he is a citizen. As well as all those “detained” should have there “Human Rights” restored to be tried and then imprisoned or released. Stop all these foul acts by the “Dirty Deeds Departments.” Search out the criminals and present them for trial but stop being a criminal to achieve your orders!

Less we become that which we seek to stop!

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By Russ, December 6, 2006 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
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Even when an American is suspected of a “capital or infamous crime,” as was Padilla, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution specifically says he still cannot “be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

True enough, but the fact the Padilla is an American citizen is really quite irrelevant.  The Fifth Admendment states:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime ...; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law….

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By chris (USA), December 6, 2006 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment
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For Gods sake will you people get a grip…especially the last blogger…I detest the Bush administration more than all of you put together, but this is just absurd..the way you people are carrying on.Think of the Russian spy who was just murdered by radiation…What would you have been blogging about if this SCUM FROM HELL Padilla had made about 15.000 of HIS FELLOW U.S citizens look and die the exact same way…THATS WHAT HE WANTED!!!! WAKE UP!!! I can not believe that you all call yourselves Americans and exhibit that kind of bleeding heart puke over someone who hates the very blood corsing through your veins…I do not like the idea of unwarrented torture but, the people who need to be dealt with..need to be dealt with and that is that!!....You are all sitting on your throwns chastizing this type of thing in ENGLISH because the great men and women of the previous generation did this same type of thing to break codes and gain access to critical information that kept your mommy and daddy from having to learn GERMAN AND JAPANESE…Thusly teaching you also…Shame on every damn one of you!!

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By chris, December 6, 2006 at 6:16 pm Link to this comment
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1984.

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By sharon ash, December 6, 2006 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment
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People who go around saying they are one thing when their core personality is quite different from what they pretend to be, many times become psychotic.  We have become a psychotic nation by ignoring our greed and declaring ourselves to be among the most generous and giving of people.  We have become a psychotic nation by declaring ourselves to be peace loving people and yet we build up and freely use our military might to harm others and force our will upon them.  We have become a psychotic nation by declaring ourselves to be morally superior and yet we are the most violent country in the industrial world.  This is, of course, the short list of examples which could be given as to how we deceive ourselves as a country.  It is time to get out of denial as a nation, face our problems and move forward as a progressive nation which strives to be what we say we are. I love this country and its people.  I do not love the fact that corporate greed combined with corrupt government has run our country off into a very deep ditch. The government can only pull us out of the ditch with the help of “we the people”.  Get involved (hint, bitching is not getting involved) and stay informed about what is going on in our government.  Greed is the number one problem in America, followed closely by ignorance.  America has some difficult days ahead, but the very fact that the word torture makes most Americans sick to their stomach means there is still hope for us.  It means we are looking in the mirror and we are not liking what we see.  That is when change begins!

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By marblex, December 6, 2006 at 5:19 pm Link to this comment
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SIMPLE ANSWERS TO SIMPLE QUESTIONS:

Q:  “The more important question now, however, is when will those who, like Ashcroft, used this case to shamelessly exploit our fears for political purposes face their own day of accountability in a court of law?”

A:  Never

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By Spinoza, December 6, 2006 at 4:51 pm Link to this comment
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We need a lot more than Ashcroft in jail

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By Arun, December 6, 2006 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment
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American Public

You are still sleeping. Media is another reason you are sleeping. Where are revolutionary gatherings ? Where are people who gather and protest against a evil joker president who said yesterday that Iraq WAR is all right. After all the killing and deaths, he is still giving you all crap.

You all come home from work and watch TV with the same crap. Don’t you get tired of the crap from your media controlled news showing one sided news.

Is it true that your public is also corrupt? Back during slavery most of whites were quiet because they were using blacks as their slaves. Now Iraqis getting killed, so people are not on the streets yet in america. You keep watching same news.

God damn it, your leaders are ruining the world and allowing their friends ruin our environment (70% of green house emissions), and you are keeping quiet and elected Bush again to the white house. Shame on your society and country.
Thank you truth dig and help wake up american public.
Arun
Canada

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By jason, December 6, 2006 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment
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Thing is, this is America now.  The laws are on the books, the precedents for Presidential thuggishness have been set.  Doesn’t matter who has Congress, the Oval Office or judiciary.

Was cannabis legalized once everyone realized it really didn’t drive people insane or make white women jump in bed with black guys?  Was corporate person-hood revoked when we realized that we’ve sold out social welfare and environmental health?  Was the Fairness Doctrine reinstated after the hideous birth of a thousand Rush Limpbaughs?

Forever more we will be fascist-lite, American troops will be in Iraq, and we will live within a bogus War on Terror- at least until the oil runs out.

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By Eleanore Kjellberg, December 6, 2006 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment
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The article is scary, because we no longer have judicial boundaries—today it is Padilla; tomorrow it could be us.

http://www.mwwstraighttalk.com/archives/2006/10/good_bye_habeas_corpus.html

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By L. Rodulfo, December 6, 2006 at 3:27 pm Link to this comment
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When I read about what my government is doing to Padilla, I stopped reading.  Fighting back tears, I hung my head and in trying to regain my composure, I prayed for forgiveness because this is an act that calls for atonement. My prayers were to the Creator who surely is grieved as well by what this man has had to endure. My plea went out to God to help us all.  May this man someday be able to retrieve his mind . . . for I know, God has his soul.

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By felicity, December 6, 2006 at 12:36 pm Link to this comment
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So, Mr. Padilla, according to his psychiatric evaluation has impairments in reasoning as the result of mental illness.  Yet, he continues to be tortured.  Yet, any information as to Al Quaeda that may be forthcoming from him will be information from a mentally ill man and, therefore of no value (not to mention that torture NEVER elicits viable information).  So why does his torture continue other than the pleasure derived from it by his torturers and their enablers.

America is apparently also ruled by a tyrant who “can justify the cruelest of actions by citing enemies, real or imagined.”  Sadaam killed “Kurdish villagers after an assassination attempt on his life,” and wasn’t it George Bush who said - in part to justify the invasion of Iraq - “he tried to kill my daddy”?

George Bush is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of souls.  How many Kurdish villagers did Sadaam order killed?  (For that matter who exactly did Padilla kill?)

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By Karen, December 6, 2006 at 11:16 am Link to this comment
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Torturing Padilla was not necessary to safeguard our Republic.  He was, after all, already in custody where he could do no harm.  Torturing him was venal retribution carried out by thugs.

Yes, thugs!  How could anyone, especially an American who supposedly reveres liberty and justice - for all! - deliberately destroy the mind of a fellow human being if he is not a thug?

Obviously, some Americans have forgotten (or do not care about) the basic tenets of the U.S. Constitution and, more importantly, the Bill of Rights. 

Not only should leaders be held accountable, but those who willingly carry out their orders need to be held accountable.  It is called the Nuremberg Principle.

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By Jim Tugend, December 6, 2006 at 11:00 am Link to this comment
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Since the President is blind to reality , nmopt even reading the papers, deaf to criticism, and obviously dumb, he doesn’t realize that being deprived of all these sensory deprevations can destabilize and ordinary person.  The government spend a billion dollars coming up with the best way to torture people and this is a big part of the ‘solution’.  Reminds me of the ‘final solution’.

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By kevo, December 6, 2006 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
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Narciso, you establish guilt by association, but I didn’t read your concern about the American tenet of due process.  I too believe Padilla is dangerous, but I do afford him the Bill of Rights as he is an American citizen.  Anything less, and I do believe we are no longer living in the good ol’USA. -Kevo

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By MARIAM RUSSELL, December 6, 2006 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
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So narciso reckons that a twisted line of he-knew-this-one and such really good evidence is a good reason for the treatment, done in your and my name, that this man received?

YOY ARE CORRECT, MR. SCHEER, WE HAVE BECOME THEM AND ARE NO BETTER THAT A COUNTRY OF MORALLY DEPRAVED TORTURERS AND MURDERERS, EXACTLY WHAT WE WASTED MILLIONS OF BOOKS AND MOVIES AND HOURS OF AIR TIME DECRYING…..NAZIS, CHINESE, ARGENTINES, EXCEPT, OF COURSE, IN THE CASE OF SOUTH AMERICA, THOSE WERE THE PLANS OF OUR OWN H KISSENGER, SO OUR SLIDE DOWN THIS PARTICULAR SLIPPERY SLOPE HAS TAKEN A WHILE.

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By Lee Driver, December 6, 2006 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
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The problem is exemplified in the comment by narciso. People who are afraid and find reason upon reason to be afraid, and build mental and physical defenses, don’t understand how their actions give rise to, bolster and validate that which they fear. Nor do they understand how manipulatable they are by cunning men.

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By Michael, December 6, 2006 at 9:03 am Link to this comment
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Ashcroft wanted to make it look like the Justice department was doing a great job when he grandstanded the ‘capture’ of Padilla an uneducated and likely rather dull latino they tried to portray as someone just trained by Arab terrorists to make nuclear deviced to harm America. I knew then what this phony evil man Ashcroft and the Bush administration were up to. Americans can not allow evil government to prevail over such acts. Ashcroft and Bush are no better then Saddom who at least had excuses. We Americans must not let up until these utter miscreants are punished. Shame on American if it does not act and shame on a weak press for allowing it to happen. Thanks for your article. You are what America is all about.

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By Ben, December 6, 2006 at 8:58 am Link to this comment
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Robert Scheer writes, on December 5, 2006:

The Founding Fathers won a war, but their true contribution to human history was to tackle head-on the reality that humans and their institutions can so easily become that which they despise.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, on September 17, 1787:

In these sentiments, Sir, I agree to this Constitution with all its faults, if they are such; because I think a general Government necessary for us, and there is no form of Government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

[From: Benjamin Franklin to the Federal Convention, 17 Sept. 1787]

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a7s3.html

//////////////////

On this topic, and the broad range of problems our country faces today, I believe there are two acts that must occur before any solutions are possible:

[1] We must demand, pursue, find and tell the truth.

- All the problems we face, from Kabul to Katrina to K Street, are grounded at their source in lies. Correct solutions can not come from false data.

- John Edwards recently wrote: ...the foundation of moral leadership is telling the truth.

[2] The American public must accept responsiblity for the actions of their government, and their elected leadership.

- If the American Constitution and American rule of law were functioning properly George W. Bush would never have become president in 2000.

- The only way to insure that the Constitution and the rule of law function properly is if the American public demands it - and settles for nothing less.

///////////////////

History books will get this ugly time wrong. They will pin it on George W. Bush. But anyone who understands democracy, and America, and Thomas Jefferson, will know that the responsibility should be pinned on the American citizens who allowed George W. Bush to be appointed to the office of the presidency.

I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts about that dark intruding question that hovers over every American’s head: How am I responsible for what my country has done?

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By Michelle, December 6, 2006 at 8:43 am Link to this comment
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This administration NEEDS to be held accountable, tried and convicted for their “High Crimes and Misdemeanors”. If not, then all is truly lost and their is no justice to be found anymore in the once great “Un”-United States of America that is on the road to being a dictatorship! Shrub et al need to hang themselves and have proved to be even as bad if not worse than those they point fingers at!

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By AnnaCatherine, December 6, 2006 at 8:21 am Link to this comment
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Americans were sold a bill of goods designed around Sept.11,2001. More to the point, the majority bought into it. No questions asked. Those of us who did question all of it were suspect and it took five years, a sequence of events,not to mention what secretly took place and a major war to finally wake people up. How many other Padillas’ are there? We’ll never know. It amazes me that there is still alot of reluctance to ‘clean house’. It’s always important not to point a finger. There is no other way. It’s time to get started.

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By jessilu, December 6, 2006 at 8:20 am Link to this comment
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I am blown away at how inhumane we have allowed ourselves to get…all in service of “fighting terrorism”.  It makes no sense to treat Padilla, however unsavory he may be, the way he is being treated.  We treat murderers and rapists better!  And part of the reason is, if we don’t talk to these nasty people, we’ll never get the evidence and information we need to make future acts less likely.  We all want to catch terrorists, but if all we do with them is put them in solitary confinement and reduce them to a quivering mass, then some people may feel temporarily vindicated that justice is being served, but we aren’t really msking the country safer.

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By John C, December 6, 2006 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
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What we see happening is deplorable, but if we think that it is an aberration in American society, we only need to read our history, starting with the Pilgrims and the Puritans.

Evil people have always been part of American leadership, as in every other country. In fact, “evil” in political leadership is not the “exception”. It has always been the “rule”.

It is why people cannot become complacent when evil emerges in government.

In November, the people finally took a small step towards squelching the evil of the Republican ascendancy. However, they have no good reason to believe that the Democrats are any better.

What this country needs is a radically different political culture where the “golden rule” forms the basis of government and our economic system.

Until Americans understand that, we will continue to suffer the consequences of evil leadership.

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By Gary, December 6, 2006 at 8:11 am Link to this comment
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This is why Bush must be impeached. Otherwise his reckless abuse of civil liberties will stand as a precedent. Not to mention we’d immediately regain our allies and the RESPECT of the world…...

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By Robert Baruch, December 6, 2006 at 8:09 am Link to this comment
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“They hate us for our freedom”.
George W.(the “W” stands for war criminal) Bush.

We can not defend ourselves against terrorism by becoming terrorists ourselves. Torture is an atrocity that can not be rationalized or justified. Not under ANY circumstances.

Some things are wrong and they are ALWAYS wrong, regardless of your religion or nationality. Torture is wrong and it is ALWAYS wrong, no matter how star-spangled your banner.

Bush/Cheney/Rice - the real “axis of evil”.

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By Frank, December 6, 2006 at 7:56 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Progessives, do you still support gun control in the US?

Do you still think gun rights advocates are paranoid to fear their government?

Do you still think the idea of Americans having to take up arms one day to protect themselves from tyranny in their own country is far fetched?

We can only hope that democracy and the will of the American people can turn this country around and stop it’s slide into facism and theocracy.  But if we cannot save this country at the polling station, then the time may come again for another American Revolution to restore the republic that the Founders created.  Protecting our Second Amendment rights now is critical to ensuring that this last and most dire option for saving democracy is still available if and when it is needed.

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By Kevo, December 6, 2006 at 6:57 am Link to this comment
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Your observations, Mr. Sheer, are very cogent to the underpinnings of our political heritage - the rule of law proffered by a Constitution and Bill of Rights for the Individual.  This Administration has shat upon such underpinnings and, as a clear and convincing result shows, alienated us from our heritage, our liberty, our civil discourse, our standing in the world, and ultimately ourselves.

We were sold a bill of goods by this Adminstration, we are now finding out, that has been detrimental to our way of life.  Thank you Mr. Sheer for staying on top of the madness that comes from this rogue regime. -Kevo

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By narciso, December 6, 2006 at 6:45 am Link to this comment
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Does one have to be reminded that Abdullah Muhajir (that’s the name that Padilla chose; was identified by Abu Zubeydah; this is how we were able to identify him
when he arrived at O’Hare Airport, back in 2002. That
he is an adept of the Dar Ul Uloom mosque in
Pembroke Pines, whose imam praised the Tsunami
back in Dec. 2004; whose associates include Adnan
El Shukrijumah, a Trinidadian born Saudi national,
associate of Mohammed Atta. whose father ministered
at the local mosque prior to the first WTC bombing; who
received contributions from the Saudis via the Riggs
Bank. Shukrijumah jr; who cased the Washington DC
and New Jersey sites for the plot directed by Dhiren
Birot; aka Essam al Hindi; which he was recently
convicted in London; is reportedly somewhere in the
North West Frontier. But of course; one is reminded
that Mr. Scheer says Al Queda doesn’t exist. Well
move along then

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By Linda Hallak, December 6, 2006 at 5:26 am Link to this comment
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I am apalled that this mistreatment of Padilla even was allowed to take place.  This reflects poorly on the U.S. Congress.  I do not remember hearing about Padilla’s family or friends appealing for justice in the U.S. newspapers. The only thing that might have prevented this abuse of power was to shine a kleag light on the abuse in the U.S. media and to shame the Bush regime through publicity.  This is a tactic that Amnesty International uses overseas.  Why wasn’t it used here?  Here we see Saddam on trial in Iraq, being provided more due process than one of our own U.S. citizens.  Why did Padilla receive such inhumane treatment?  Don’t we provide due process to child rapists/murderers in our country?  Don’t people like Padilla deserve at least that much due process?  What is the Bush regime afraid of?  Do they fear being reviled if their abuse of power became known?  I direct most of my anger and outrage at the U.S. media.  Obviously, they care only about their paychecks and nothing at all about their job to hold abusive gov’t accountable to the People.  I am outraged, and ASHAMED to be an American.

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